Social media ticket sales - First tweet seats, now "twittermission"
Oh dear. First it was "tweet seats", now it's "twittermission". A theater company in Boston, Massachusetts is conducting question and answer sessions during performance intermissions...over Twitter. The real question that must be asked is "Will a twittermission help social media ticket sales?"
In an earlier post we asked Are tweet seats taking the shared experience too far? when several different venues began to allow patrons to use their smartphones during events. The trend in social media ticket sales has been building for a while, as our post explained:
It all started back in 2009 when the National Symphony Orchestra experimented with the distribution of the conductor’s note to the audience via Twitter. An example of what was tweeted by the orchestra’s conductor, while on stage during a performance: “In my score Beethoven has printed Nightingale = flute Quail = oboe Cuckoo = clarinet — a mini concerto for woodwind/birds.” At the time, the now ubiquitous social sharing platform was still relatively unknown, so its impact upon others was minimal. In a venue that seats thousands, the lone reader of the tweet, wasn't given much thought.
We went on to cite several different theaters and movie houses that actually encouraged their patrons (sequestered in special seats) to share their experience using social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. The practice has been met with a fair bit of criticism with some calling for the total ban of all electronic devices inside theaters. Well, if tweet seats didn't ruffle enough feathers - then maybe a twittermission will. A few weeks ago, the Huntington Theatre Company in Boston boastfully announced their new "twittermission" question and answer sessions that occur during performance intermissions. It is probably best to let the theater describe it themselves:
Many of you have probably already heard or read about "tweet seats," and the ensuing conversation / backlash around that. But as our Artistic Director Peter said, "from the moment the curtain goes up to the moment it comes down, the art on stage is all the engagement the audience needs. We've found another way to get involved — but of course, we're going to need your help.Enter #Twittermission.
At select performances, we'll be opening up our Twitter account to an artist, designer, stage manager, or other face behind-the-scenes who will field questions from the audience and answer them in real-time during intermission. The conversation will be displayed on the video monitors in the lobby of each of our theatres, allowing our audience to follow along. And if you don't have a ticket for the performance that night, you can still follow along with us live on Twitter.
Think of it as another way to keep the conversation going after the curtain's gone down (and for those of you unfamiliar with Twitter -- our tweets will all be public, so you can still follow along without signing up or having an account of your own). If you're not able to follow along live, the conversation will remain archived on our Twitter feed, so you can go back and read through it any time you'd like!
As seen in follow-up poston the theater company's blog initial response has been positive:
Our inaugural #Twittermission took place on the evening of January 30. The Twitterverse was buzzing with excitement when we announced the event, and there were many people following closesly as I communicated over video chat with Invisible Man projection designer Alex Koch and costume designer Kathleen Geldard and relayed their answers to audience questions live over our twitter feed, which was then displayed on the video monitors in the lobby during intermission. While much of the in-house audience seemed busy/distracted with concessions and bathroom runs, the video monitors still drew several curious eyes who watched with interest.
Of course it is vital to the success of any venue to market themselves and increase ticket sales. Twittermission may very well bring new patrons, who would otherwise not consider an evening at the theater, to the box office. The shared experience, normally associated with rock concerts, could potentially be incorporated into traditional theater bringing the same business benefits.
Whether you are for, or against, tweet seats and twittermissions during a play or movie, know that the age of the Internet is in full effect and it is not going to go away.
Your event or venue should have a reasonable social media strategy that spurs social media ticket sales - and that strategy need not be as radical as tweet seats. The importance of an event’s shared experience, as it relates to additional tickets sales, is something ThunderTix has been emphasizing for quite sometime.
The ticketing software you choose is part of the shared experience from beginning to end. ThunderTix offers you the ability to sell tickets directly on your Facebook page, where your customers already are. Then we help your ticket buyer share their excitement using the social sharing buttons in the custom email confirmation. Finally, after your event is over, you can use the ThunderTix patron management features.